First Baptist Church In The News
September 19, 2008
Campaign calls on U.S.
to end practice
By Krisy Gashler
Ithaca churches and religious groups have joined a national faith-based
campaign against torture. “Torture violates the basic dignity of the
human person that all religions, in their highest ideals, hold dear,”
reads the “‘Torture is a Moral Issue' Statement of Conscience”
sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
degrades everyone involved — policy-makers, perpetrators and victims.
It contradicts our nation's most cherished ideals. Any policies that
permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally
The groups that have joined the national
movement are Tikkun v'Or Jewish reform temple, First Baptist church,
Unitarian Church of Ithaca, St. Catherine's Greek Orthodox churches,
Catholic Charities and St. Paul's United Methodist church, according to
Gerry Coles, chairman of the social action committee at Tikkun v'Or.
National Religious Campaign Against Torture seeks to encourage the
president of the United States to issue an executive order banning
torture, according to its Web site. Churches that join the campaign are
encouraged to display banners showing their support for the movement in
Nov. 2008, when the new president is elected, and in Jan. 2009, when he
will be inaugurated.
Banners say things like “Honor the Image
of God: Stop Torture Now,” “Torture is a Moral Issue,” “Torture Harms
All of Us” and “Torture is Wrong.” National and international
controversy has surrounded President George W. Bush's policies on
interrogation of suspected terrorists. Supporters call methods like
interrogation techniques” and argue that
they have resulted in intelligence that has protected national
security. Critics call the methods “torture,” and argue that their use
is immoral and has damaged America's standing at home and abroad.
said that Reformed Judaism, the philosophy followed at Tikkun v'Or, has
long opposed torture. A national convention passed a resolution
condemning torture in 2005, he said. Jewish people, because of the
history of the Holocaust, feel a “particular responsibility to speak
out against the violence and dehumanization of other groups,
particularly religious groups, Muslims, who get categorized in the same
way,” he said.
“It's not at all making a comparison” between the
Holocaust and Bush's interrogation policies, Coles said. “The
experience of the Holocaust just underscores, I feel, the need for Jews
to speak out on issues of war and peace, issues of morality and abuse.”
Pastor Rich Rose of the First Baptist church in Ithaca said his
church signed onto the anti-torture campaign because “we see it as a
very basic issue of human rights that is very tied to our
the Bible and God.”
it's the Torah for our Jewish sisters and brothers, or the Bible for
Christians, or the Koran even for Muslims, the basic tenet of our
scripture is that human beings are made in God's image and reflect the
image of God,” he said. “My personal belief is that all people are
inherently good. People do terrible things, certainly, I don't want to
be naive about that, but at the same time, I think we have to respect
that that spark of God is present in all of us. And this to me is just
a blatant and heinous violation of that tenet, that principle.”
For more information, go
Rep. Hinchey Holds Forum
on Iraq War
Emma Wright (Channel 36, Elmira, NY)
March 19, 2008
ITHACA--Congressman Maurice Hinchey marked the 5th anniversary of the
War in Iraq Wednesday by holding a community forum in Ithaca.
Those who came out to the forum said it’s time for some big changes.
“I think they should be removed from office, forcibly. I think that
their needs to be something done where they are removed from office,”
said Bill McGill. McGill says he's fed up with President
George W. Bush. The navy veteran says he's afraid America is losing its
dream, and he wants the Bush administration to do something about it.
“Those who hijacked our democracy should basically be removed from
office”, he said. "I'm not a radical, I’m a person who’s
responsible and I care about what's going on in America.”
Congressman Hinchey held the forum at the First Baptist Church of
Ithaca as an opportunity to discuss the impact of the war. “It’s having
a fairly uniform negative impact across America, everybody is suffering
from the consequences,” he said. Hinchey said the effects of
the war are widespread. He said it has negatively affected the national
debt, personal debt, and the war's trillion dollar price tag is just
“All across this country, this situation is causing a dramatic turndown
in economic circumstances,” he said. “I think that citizens should be
able to voice their opinions on very important matters especially the
situation of Iraq. It is a very crucial matter so we ought to be
talking about it,” said Pastor Richard Rose of the First Baptist Church
of Ithaca. Hinchey says he will continue to press for the
withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in congress.
for full report and news video, including
Rev. Richard Rose of First Baptist Church.
Hinchey blasts Bush on
war's 5th anniversary
By Raymond Drumsta
Ithaca Journal Staff
March 20, 2008
— Tossing out figures in the billion and trillion ranges, Congressman
Maurice Hinchey, D-22nd, commemorated the fifth anniversary of the Iraq
invasion with a visit to Ithaca and a fiery speech linking the ongoing
Iraqi conflict with the American economy, which he said is in a
recession. “The economic consequences we're facing are dire
damaging,” Hinchey told the crowd of 40 people assembled Wednesday
evening at a community forum at the First
Baptist Church of Ithaca
lit into the administration for what he called the illegal and
unjustified invasion and occupation, and quoted President George W.
Bush's Wednesday speech, in which he said the war in Iraq is “noble,
necessary and just.” “Wrong on all three counts,” Hinchey
“as more and more people across this country know and understand, as
the people of Ithaca knew in 2002. There's no nobility, necessity and
With its current budget now before Congress, the
Bush administration has taken spending from things like healthcare,
education and infrastructure “while they escalate the cost of the
military occupation of Iraq,” Hinchey said, adding that Iraq has cost
$500 billion so far, and costs $12 billion every month.
Hinchey said, America is in a recession, facing rising food and fuel
costs, a devalued dollar, the massive loss of manufacturing jobs and an
increase in government and personal debt, with wealth being accumulated
by only the wealthiest five percent of Americans. “The
circumstances we face continue to get worse,” he said, pointing to the
Federal Reserve's bailout of investment banker Bear Stearns. Americans
must confront these circumstances intelligently and aggressively, he
“We have to make sure we get a new administration next year that can
deal with this problem.”
by their spontaneous applause at his remarks, the crowd seemed
sympathetic. But one outspoken man who wished not to be identified
questioned Hinchey and the Democrats, saying they haven't held the
administration accountable for things such as the Foreign Intelligence
“They've disappointed all of us,” the man said of the Democrats.
fired back at the man, saying the administration has been held
accountable on FISA. Taking an encouraging tone, Hinchey urged the man
to keep fighting.
“You can't let them knock you down,” he said.
answering another question about a phased withdrawal from Iraq, Hinchey
said one can begin “almost immediately,” but that some troop presence
will be necessary in Iraq. He called for a strengthened United Nations
to undertake Iraq.
“We need that organization,” he said. “I think the U.N. needs to go in
there. We need to withdraw our troops.”
about why members of the administration haven't been impeached, Hinchey
said it was not possible with the current make up of Congress.
to Hinchey's visit and some of his remarks, County Legislator and
Tompkins County Republican Chairman Mike Sigler said the United States'
commitment to Iraq is still worth the price, and is a must-win
situation.” Removing U.S. forces now would create a power vacuum,
leading to the genocide of the Iraqi people, said Sigler, R-Lansing.
“It would leave them unprotected,” he said of a withdrawal, adding that
many Iraqis have committed to democracy — some at the cost of their
Worse yet, Sigler said, a humanitarian crisis created by
a withdrawal might force the United States to reinvade Iraq — a
costlier prospect than the present situation, because troops would be
fighting to regain territory given up in that withdrawal.
has “turned the corner,” he added, with the troop surge, by all
accounts, tamping down the violence.
“The political end of this
endeavor is going to take longer,” he said. “It's going to take time.”
Saying he's not well-versed in the Federal budget, Sigler
declined to comment about Hinchey's budget allegations, but said voters
should compare annual budgets to judge the veracity of Hinchey's
statement. Domestic spending, like war spending, will be deficit
spending, he added, and he welcomes a debate framed in those terms.
don't want to deficit spend,” he said. “The problem is, we have a war
we have to finish.” While he conceded that the financial aspect of the
war may have currency with voters, he reiterated the need to finish the
commitment to Iraq.
Sigler said that while he has constituents who served in Iraq, he
doesn't hear much from them about the issue.
Friday, August 3, 2007
CU GROUP TAKES STAND AGAINST HATE
By Topher Sanders-Journal Staff
Ithaca- More than 270 people gathered in Cornell University's Ho Plaza
Thursday to express support for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and
Transgender community in response to a religious group who traveled to
Ithaca to condemn homosexuality.
flags were waved enthusiastically and signs reading "God is Love" were
held by many in Ho Plaza as they shouted chants against bigotry.
are just here for a moment of solidarity, empowerment and to reinforce
what our community is about" said Gwendolyn Dean, director of the
Cornell's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center.
hundred yards away, four members from Westboro Baptist Church of
Topeda, Kan. stood on the corner of Dryden and Hoy Roads at the entrace
of Cornell holding signs
stating that God hated homosexuals,
homosexuals should die.
believes the United States should be destroyed because of its allowance
of homosexuality and what they perceive as other perversions.
had a reminder just last night that the wrath of God again is pouring
down on this nation," said Shirley Phelps-Roper of the church,
referring tothe collaps of the highway bridge in Minneapolis that
killed at least four people.
Rose, reverence of the First Baptist Church of Ithaca said Baptists do
not stand for the Westboro Baptist Church's mission.
would just like to affirm for you that Baptists are not defind by
hatred, exclusion of this kind of bigotry that we have seen right
around the corner," Rose said. "Baptist in its true definition stands
for liberty and the support of diversity in communion."
What does the Lord
require of you?
To do Justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.
Peace to all who enter here.